SO, HOW ABOUT that Super Bowl, huh? Wasn't it just great how the Patriots battled back from adversity (i.e., playing like crap for more than 35 minutes) and miraculously delivered to their humble, long-suffering fans yet another Lombardi Trophy?
Won't you just be absolutely glued to the TV for Tuesday's parade with the duck boats and Tom and Gisele - isn't Tom just the bestest? I saw so many cute memes on Twitter on Monday with him and goats because he's the GOAT, you see, the "Greatest Of All Time!" Get it? So clever!
And of course, former Eagles Eric Rowe, Dion Lewis and Patrick Chung will all be there! Isn't this just the most wonderful . . . Hey! Let go of my neck! Seriously, I can't breathe with your hands on my windpipe like that!
I see you have a Brian Dawkins No. 20 tattoo on your right biceps, as it flexes so you can dangle me in the air - ask yourself, "WWDD?" Like, what would Dawk do?
No, he would not do that! I've met him. He is a very peaceful man off the field and anyway I'm pretty sure that would be physically imposs . . . The thing is, I was joking! It was a joke! I know this is all completely unbearable for everyone, that's why I'm really here to talk about the Eagles and free agency!
Yes! Now, please put me down.
Whew. Anyhow, free agency kicks off March 9, about a month from now, which isn't a lot of time, but a lot still can change - much like Sunday night's fourth quarter.
Monday marked the start of the waiver period, meaning it's now possible to release players under contract to create cap space, something the Eagles need to do if they are going to be active in free agency at all. Connor Barwin, Jason Kelce, Ryan Mathews, Ron Brooks and Leodis McKelvin are all popular names to be either traded or released, and the team might need to restructure Jason Peters' deal, a tricky process that can lead to departure if the sides can't agree. Trades can't be announced until March 9.
So, as the Eagles and other teams contemplate such moves, we don't have anything close to a full list of available NFL free agents yet. Then there's the fact that Feb. 15 is the first date for designating franchise or transition-tag players. I don't expect the Birds to franchise pending free agent Bennie Logan, given the money they already have tied up in their defensive line, but quite a few of the players who might appear on Eagles fans' shopping lists will not get to March 9 untethered.
Right now, for example, Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. I would go so far as to deem that unlikely.
We all know there are two huge areas of Eagles concern heading into free agency and the draft - wide receiver and cornerback. Pass rusher and running back are just below those top two, especially if Logan, Mathews and Barwin won't be on the 2017 team.
If you read the Senior Bowl coverage a few weeks back, you might remember the discussion with Howie Roseman that the 2014 draft was an outlier, that even if you draft a potentially dominant receiver, he doesn't tend to dominate as a rookie. Julio Jones caught 54 passes for 959 yards in 2011, which is nice, but hardly transformative. And choosing either 14th or 15th in the first round, depending on a coin flip, the Eagles are unlikely to uncover a Jones like talent.
I would guess the Eagles will both draft and sign wide receivers. But I'd also guess that vast improvement in 2017 will have to be a cumulative thing, not the result of one special guy being added.
The biggest name on the pending UFA list is Chicago's Alshon Jeffery. The Bears tagged him last year and have plenty of cap room to do that again, but it's unclear whether they want to, in a rebuilding situation. Jeffery didn't have a great year, 52 catches for 821 yards and only two touchdowns, served a four-game PED suspension, one year after missing seven games with injuries.
Jeffery, who turns 27 on Feb. 14, is amazing on 50-50 balls, would be better overall than anyone the Eagles have, but if he gets to free agency, is he really worth top-of-the-market, Dez Bryant-level money? (That's five years, $70 million, $45 million guaranteed.)
The Eagles have made it clear that they're looking to place long-term building blocks around Carson Wentz this offseason and not quick fixes. If you go in for a $45 million guarantee, you're binding yourself and Wentz to that guy. I don't know that I see Jeffery that way.
The guy the national media want to send back to Philly is 30-year-old DeSean Jackson, who hasn't been a Pro Bowl-level player since he left here three years ago. Sure, D-Jax would catch some deep balls, open things up. Given his age and his history of not being a paragon of the kind of offseason prep that extends careers, I'd be leery of spending a lot of money there.
Kenny Stills doesn't turn 25 until April, and his 42 catches for 726 yards for Miami last season included nine touchdowns. But the Dolphins have cap room and no reason to let him walk; general manager Chris Grier recently called Stills "an important part" of what Miami is trying to build.
The Rams' Kenny Britt played for new Eagles wide receivers Mike Groh in Los Angeles. Britt has had an up-and-down career but he caught 68 passes for 1,002 yards last season, without a decent quarterback. He's 28.
I think Cleveland tags Terrelle Pryor. Torrey Smith is more of what the Eagles already have, doesn't play to expectations. An interesting name to me is the Cowboys' Terrance Williams, a 2013 third-round pick from Baylor who has a career average of 15.8 yards per catch, doesn't get hurt, runs an excellent deep route.
Maybe the best shot at getting a real difference-maker at wideout would be if the Saints really are interested in trading unhappy Brandin Cooks, as has been hinted. Cooks is one of the guys the Eagles wanted in the first round of the 2014 draft, when they ended up with Marcus Smith. Would you part with, say, a second-round pick for a receiver who doesn't turn 24 until September, and caught 78 passes for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016? I would.
I think the Eagles might very well draft a cornerback in the first round, and they might need to, if they're going to seriously upgrade there. The Texans will tag A.J. Bouye. Morris Claiborne looked to be having a breakthrough season in Dallas, then got hurt and missed the second half of it. The only name on the UFA list I see that excites me is Berlin, N.J.'s Logan Ryan, fresh from hanging tough against Jones in the Super Bowl for the Patriots.
Why would they let him hit free agency? They might not, but there is speculation, based on two factors: The Pats have several other pending free agents, and they don't really like to pay corners, they've been very good at replacing them over the years, from Ty Law to Asante Samuel to Aqib Talib.
Ryan turns 26 this week, is an excellent tackler, plays inside and out, and has never missed a game. I don't think a substantial investment in him would be a big risk.
The pass rush and running back needs almost certainly will be addressed in the draft - but again, we don't know who might become a cap casualty in the coming weeks.